Gustavus Adolphus College to Host 9th Annual Building Bridges Conference Posted on March 15th, 2004 by

The ninth annual Building Bridges Conference will be held at Gustavus Adolphus College Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20. This year’s theme, “Building Community,” emphasizes working together and resolving conflict in our own communities and compliments last year’s theme of international conflict resolution. Workshop topics include “Building a Democratic Community,” “Building a Multi-cultural Community,” and “Crime and Safety in Our Community.”

Arun Gandhi, nonviolent activist, racial-issues scholar, and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, will give the keynote address. Gandhi left his home in apartheid South Africa at the age of 12 to spend time with his grandfather in India, where he experienced the powerful philosophy of nonviolence firsthand. After leading successful projects of economic and social reform in India, Arun Gandhi came to the United States in 1988 to complete a comparative study on racism in America. In 1991, he founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Memphis, Tennessee. An internationally renowned speaker, Gandhi offers unique insight from his cross-cultural experiences.

Also speaking will be urban black popular culture scholar and best-selling author Michael Eric Dyson. A teen father from Detroit who received his Ph.D. from Princeton University, Dyson is currently the Avalon Professor in Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania in Religious and African Studies and is author of the ground-breaking book Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X.

The conference is open to the public and the schedule is as follows:

  • 6-9 p.m. March 19 Peace Coffee in the Courtyard Cafe (located in the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center)
  • 8-9 a.m. March 20 Registration in Alumni Hall (located in the O.J. Johnson Student Union)
  • 9-9:45 a.m. March 20 “I am …We are” theatre company presentation in Alumni Hall
  • 9:45-9:55 a.m. March 20 Welcome Address from Co-Chairs Linda Lee and Meghan Larson in Alumni Hall
  • 10:05-11:25 a.m. March 20 “Crime Prevention and Safety in our Community” workshops in the Jackson Campus Center
  • 11:15-11:25 a.m. March 20 Prayer Performance in Alumni Hall
  • 11:25 a.m.-12:40 p.m. March 20 Keynote Address: Arun Gandhi in Alumni Hall
  • 12:40-1:10 p.m. March 20 Q & A session in Alumni Hall
  • 1:10-2:10 p.m. March 20 lunch break (on your own)
  • 2:10-3:10 p.m. March 20 “Building a Democratic Community” workshops in the Jackson Campus Center
  • 3:20-4:20 p.m. March 20 “Building a Multi-Cultural/Pluralist Society” workshops in the Jackson Campus Center
  • 4:30-5:45 March 20 Keynote Address: Michael Eric Dyson in Alumni Hall
  • 5:45-6:15 p.m. March 20 Q & A session in Alumni Hall
  • 6:20-7:20 p.m. March 20 Reception for Dyson and Gandhi, book signing, and Hillstrom Museum of Art exhibit: “Testimony” outside the Hillstrom Museum (located in the lower level of the Jackson Campus Center)
  • 7:30-8:30 p.m. March 20 Evening Banquet in Banquet Rooms
  • 9 p.m.-midnight March 20 Benefit Concert: Keith Secola in Alumni Hall

Building Bridges is open to the public, but registration is required. Costs are:

  • Registration:

    Student – $5 each
    Non-student – $10 each
    High School student or St. Peter resident — no charge
  • Banquet reservations – $10 each
  • Benefit concert – $5 each

To register, contact Gustavus student and conference co-chair Linda Lee at or 933-8263, or send payment to the Gustavus Diversity Center at 800 W. College Ave., St. Peter, MN 56082-1498. Checks should be payable to Gustavus Adolphus College. The registration deadline is Friday, March 19.

The annual Building Bridges conference is a student-led, student-initiated diversity conference organized to promote mutual respect and understanding of diversity and to deal with diversity in a proactive, social, and informative way. For more information call the Diversity Center at (507) 933-7449 or visit the Web site and click on Building Bridges.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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